The Agribusiness Security Working Group, comprised of the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA), CropLife America (CLA) and The Fertilizer Institute (TFI), applauds the Department of Homeland Security's formal approval of the Asmark Institute's Security Vulnerability Assessment (SVA) tool for use by ag retailers. The Asmark SVA is sponsored by the ARA in cooperation with CLA and TFI.



"Ag retailers are aware of the ramifications for not properly addressing security measures at their chemical facilities," said Jack Eberspacher, ARA president and CEO. "The Asmark Institute's SVA tool is an invaluable resource that will ease and simplify the fulfillment of DHS' Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards."



Development of the Asmark Institute's SVA tool was initiated four years ago as a voluntary program to meet federal security regulations, such as DHS' Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards. Asmark's SVA meets the Center for Chemical Process Safety security vulnerability assessment design criteria, which is recognized as an acceptable methodology by DHS. Under the regulations, all chemical facilities considered "high risk" are placed in one of four risk-based tiers. Tiers will range from Tier 1, which contains the highest-risk covered facilities, to Tier 4, which contains the lowest-risk covered facilities.



Retailers designated as Tier 4 facilities that utilizes the Asmark SVA program to assess chemical facility security can do so with confidence that their assessment meets DHS security regulations and is based on sound risk assessment principles. Retailers who complete the plan will receive a security assessment, along with a list of recommended security measures.



"DHS' approval of the Asmark Institute's SVA tool is indicative of the good work undertaken by those ag retailers who voluntarily stepped-up to proactively implement security measures at their facilities," said Allen Summers, president, of Asmark Institute. "This has been a four-year work in progress, and the return on investment is paramount."



The Asmark SVA tool is available through the following state agribusiness associations:
California Plant Health Association
Florida Fertilizer & Agrichemical Association
Georgia Agribusiness Council
Agribusiness Association of Iowa
Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association
Agribusiness Council of Indiana
Kansas Agribusiness Retailers Association
AgriBusiness Association of Kentucky
Michigan Agribusiness Association
Minnesota Crop Production Retailers Association
Missouri Agribusiness Association
Montana Agricultural Business Association
New York State Agribusiness Association
Nebraska Agri-Business Association
Ohio Agribusiness Association
Oklahoma Agribusiness Retailers
South Carolina Fertilizer & Agrichemical Association
South Dakota Agri-Business Association
Far West Agribusiness Association
Wisconsin Crop Production Association



For additional information on Asmark's SVA program, visit ARA's Web site.



If you have questions, please contact Richard Gupton, vice president of legislative policy and counsel, at (202) 457-0825, ext. 16. Or, send an e-mail to richard@aradc.org.